Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Friday termed mysterious the fire incident in the Bangladesh Bank headquarters, a year after its reserve heist.
Speaking at separate discussions, BNP standing committee members Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury also raised a question as to how the fire incident took place in the highly secure area of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank.
“It’s mysterious why fire broke out at the foreign department of the central bank. Money has been stolen from its reserve department earlier during a holiday. The fire incident also took place on a holiday. It’s mysterious,” Moyeen Khan said.
Mr. Khan came up with the remarks while speaking at a discussion arranged by Jatiyatabadi Textile Engineers Association of Bangladesh at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital Dhaka.
BB’s Foreign Exchange Policy Department in the city’s Motijheel area caught fire on Thursday around 9:30pm. Twelve units of the firefighters doused the blaze after an hour of frantic efforts.
At another discussion, organized by Jatiyatabadi Krishak Dal at the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka, Amir Khasru said: “There have been questions in public mind over the fire incident at Bangladesh Bank. There’re many reasons to be cynical about the fire at such a time.”
He said people of the country came to know about the reserve heist two months later through a newspaper report published from Philippines.
The incident was investigated but the report was not published.
“Bangladeshi media could not write why the report was not published but Philippines said Bangladesh Bank insiders are involved with the reserve heist. Federal Reserve Bank also echoed the same view. That’s why the report was not published,” Mr. Chowdhury explained.
Unknown hackers tried to steal nearly $1.0 billion from the BB account at the Fed early February in the last calendar year, and succeeded in digitally burgling out $81 million into four accounts at RCBC (Rizal Commercial Banking Corp) in Manila in what is dubbed biggest such cyber heist.
The cyber fraud took place on the night of February 04, sending a total of 35 transfer orders into the US Federal Reserve Bank where the central bank of Bangladesh maintains its foreign-exchange account.
Of the 35 transfer orders placed, 30 were blocked. Four transfers to the Philippine bank for a total of $81 million went through. The rest $20 million transferred to a Sri Lankan non-government organisation was reversed because the hackers mis-spelled the name of the entity.
The total amount so far recovered stood at $35.25 million after receiving $15.25 million from the Philippines middle of November last.
Nearly $20 million of the total amount of $101 million siphoned off was recovered from Sri Lanka. The lion’s share of the money landed in the Philippines.